Key Questions for Healthcare Professionals Implementing Maternity Solutions

Updated on July 3, 2024

Maternity care is fundamentally about safety, effectiveness, and responsiveness. For most families, the experience of pregnancy and childbirth is overwhelmingly positive, ending with the joy of a healthy mother and baby. Yet, when complications occur, they can have devastating, lifelong impacts. 

Recent data shows a troubling trend whereby the provisional infant mortality rate in the United States increased to 5.60 per 1,000 live births in 2022, up 3% from the previous year. Significantly, the disparities in outcomes for Black, and Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander and American Indian or Alaska Native women, as well as those from less affluent areas, are much worse, with one study showing that Black neonates experience mortality rates more than twice that of white neonates.

Research coordinated with the World Health Organization has identified the need for “right care”; a tailored, evidence-based approach that considers the full continuum of maternal and newborn health. This model emphasizes person-centered care that is balanced, equitable, and informed by evidence, including cost-effectiveness. One way in which healthcare providers can directly influence and improve the quality of person-centered care is by asking new and more insightful questions specifically tailored to maternal health, and more importantly, directly tailored to their patients. 

Data Connectivity and Sharing

The traditional model of maternity care often limits the scope of data utilized, focusing heavily on immediate, physical outcomes of labor and delivery. However, today’s approach requires a broader view. Understanding long-term effects on physical and emotional health, health-related social needs, maternal-infant attachment, breastfeeding success, and patient satisfaction requires a comprehensive data strategy and moving beyond the basics. 

By understanding and appropriately utilizing comprehensive data, ranging from medical histories and genetic information to personal preferences and desired care outcomes, as well as understanding and addressing patient concerns, providers can tailor their approaches to meet the specific needs of each patient. 

Providers should be asking themselves questions like “Is your solution customized to individual patients? If so, how?” to really hone on the importance of adaptable systems. Additionally, understanding the reliability of these systems through questions such as “What is your retention rate for provider patients over the past 18 months?” and “What type of reporting is available?” helps reveal a system’s capability to not only store but also effectively present data to all involved in healthcare delivery.

With the increase in data flows, safeguarding sensitive information must comply with stringent regulations such as HIPAA to protect patient information and build trust between patients and healthcare providers. Platforms that fully integrate into the electronic medical record system allow for the seamless transfer of data between patients and caregivers, ensure continuity of care and enable healthcare professionals to make informed decisions. It is these solutions that should be on the minds of providers looking to make maternal health accessible to all.

Real-Time Monitoring

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a significant shift in outpatient care, accelerating the adoption of telehealth, particularly in maternity services. This transition is driving a reduction in face-to-face consultations while maintaining effective monitoring and is proving essential for managing conditions like gestational diabetes.

Telehealth in maternity care utilizes technologies for blood pressure monitoring and fetal heart rate monitoring, which have been demonstrated to be effective solutions. The data provided is comparable to those obtained in clinics, ensuring reliable monitoring of maternal health. Studies have shown that telehealth services and medical devices that allow for the monitoring of certain parameters within maternal health can lead to reduced rates of pre-term births and maternal mortality while providing women with the capacity to avoid some stressors associated with pregnancy. 

Providers should consider how their solutions adapt to changing risks and integrate data from remote monitoring technologies. Questions like “Does your solution include any remote monitoring?” and “How does your solution adapt to changing risk?” probe the adaptability and responsiveness of healthcare systems to continuously evolving patient needs.

Evaluation of Services and Outcomes

To ensure high-quality maternity care, healthcare providers must continuously evaluate the effectiveness of their service by asking themselves questions such as “What measures are in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the services provided?” so that they can refine their approach based on solid data.

Several methods can be used to measure the effectiveness of maternity services. Patient satisfaction surveys, for instance, provide direct feedback from patients about their experiences. These surveys not only assess the quality of care received but also highlight areas that need improvement. But, these surveys must be standardized and psychometrically sound to ensure they accurately capture patient satisfaction and provide meaningful insights.

Through continuous quality improvement (CQI) programs, feedback and clinical data are analyzed to inform decisions about necessary changes. CQI has shown effectiveness in various healthcare settings by improving the consistency of clinical practices and patient outcomes. Providers can use tools such as CQI programmes to build more trust with their existing patient-base while attracting more clients by proving that they listen to what their audience needs.

Full Service Provision

Comprehensive maternity care is about providing a holistic service that spans from prenatal to postnatal stages, ensuring every aspect of a mother’s health is supported. Providers should be asking themselves “Does your solution provide a comprehensive service from prenatal to postnatal care?” and “Do you refer patients to needed resources?” to better assess whether healthcare solutions address the full spectrum of a woman’s needs during and after pregnancy.

A full-service approach integrates various health behaviors recommended by the World Health Organization, like diet, physical activity, and substance avoidance, with resources that promote psychological wellness to prevent prenatal depression and stress. It’s essential for healthcare providers to offer continuous, culturally sensitive, and personalized care that is seamlessly integrated with educational content and support services.

This integration extends to linking with other healthcare services and providers, ensuring that care is not only about treating conditions but also about preventing them through education and support.

Clinically Proven Pathways

Clinically proven pathways integrate evidence-based practices that address both the medical and socio-environmental factors impacting maternal health. Providers should, where possible, consider honing on social determinants of health (SDOH) and mental health among traditionally used markers, to tailor care better to meet the unique needs of each patient.

Studies have continuously highlighted the disparities in maternal health, pressuring practices to follow a comprehensive approach that accounts for racial disparities, structural racism, and implicit bias. Effective maternity care platforms recognize these issues and strive to address them through targeted interventions.

Healthcare providers can enhance maternity care by implementing strategies that identify risks early on. This involves regular screenings for conditions like hypertension, diabetes, or depression and understanding the broader social context that might affect a patient’s health, such as economic stability or access to necessary healthcare services. Training staff to recognize and eliminate unconscious bias is vital, ensuring that all patients, regardless of background, receive respectful and unbiased care, and likewise, educating patients and their families about urgent maternal warning signs and when to seek medical attention can help manage chronic conditions effectively and raises awareness about potential complications during and after pregnancy.

All-In-One Solution

Mother Goose Health is transforming maternity care with a coordinated network that seamlessly integrates prenatal and postnatal services. This approach not only proactively manages risks but also reduces maternal deaths by 55% and cesarean sections by 22% compared to the national average. 

By implementing culturally appropriate practices and personalized birth plans, Mother Goose ensures care resonates with the diverse needs of expectant mothers. Its comprehensive system, including an app with live support, allows mothers to confidently navigate their pregnancy journey, ensuring effective, personalized care.

See their comprehensive guide below on the essential questions all providers should be asking to ensure their maternal health solutions are applicable today.

Ken Levey
Dr. Kenneth Levey
Founder and CEO at MotherGoose Health
Dr. Kenneth Levey is Founder and CEO of MotherGoose Health.